Sep. 7—Booster shots that cover the original COVID-19 virus plus two widely circulating variants are now available in Jackson County.
The updated booster shots are for people 12 and older. They add protection against omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants that are mutations of the original virus. As of late August, those variants were dominant worldwide and account for the vast majority of COVID-19 cases in the United States.
In general, the updated booster shots should be received at least two months after finishing your last COVID-19 shot that didn't include omicron variant coverage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The updated booster shots contain a lower dose and are not meant to be used in people who've never had a COVID-19 vaccine before.
It's not known yet how effective the updated booster will be against the virus as it continues to mutate into new variants. If new mutations are similar in shape to omicron variants, the updated boosters will have some effectiveness. COVID-19 shots work by teaching the immune system to recognize spike-shaped protrusions on viruses, then attack.
On Wednesday, Jackson County Public Health started scheduling appointments for free updated boosters. Call 541-774-8209.
Jackson County Public Health is located in the county's Health and Human Services Building, 140 S. Holly St., Medford. Hours are 8-11:45 a.m. and 1-4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.
To provide all COVID-19 vaccines including the updated boosters, Oregon Health Authority will reopen its free mass vaccination clinic Friday at The Merrick, formerly Inn at the Commons, 200 N. Riverside Ave., Medford.
Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Free COVID-19 shots and boosters are available at mobile clinics at:
* Prospect library — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, 150 Mill Creek Drive
* Feria de Recursos (Resource Fair) — 3-7 p.m. Friday, 607 W. Main St., Medford
* The Unity Through Community event — 3-6 p.m., Saturday, Blue Heron Park, 4385 Pacific Highway, Phoenix
* Butte Falls library — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4
* Prospect library — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5
For more information about mobile clinics as they become available, see jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/COVID-19/COVID-19-News/mobile-vaccination-clinics-1.
As the updated COVID-19 boosters keep arriving in Jackson County, not all providers will begin providing the shots immediately.
For other ways to get vaccinated, Jackson County Public Health recommends:
* Reach out to your doctor's office, child's pediatrician or pharmacy
* Text ORCOVID to 898211 (English and Spanish) or email ORCOVID@211info.org. Language help is available.
* Use the Get Vaccinated Oregon website at getvaccinated.oregon.gov.
* Call 211 or 1-866-698-6155 toll-free from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, including holidays.
* Visit the "Where to Get Vaccinated in Jackson County" website at jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/COVID-19/COVID-19-News/where-to-get-vaccinated-in-jackson-county.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.